CHICAGO – It only takes one pivotal moment to completely change a game, and within the first 11 minutes of the New England Revolution’s season opener at Chicago Fire FC on Saturday night, two moments put the hosts up 2-0 over the Revs at Soldier Field.
While those goals put the Revs in an early hole, what ultimately defined the game was their character to bounce back, erase the deficit, and leave Chicago with a point after battling to a 2-2 draw.
“It certainly was not a good start in the game,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “To fall behind by two goals in the first 10 minutes is poor. After 90-plus minutes, to walk off the field with a point is good.
“[Character is] the part where we get the highest grades today. We showed enough character to come back and get a point out of this game on a day where we didn’t play particularly well. I’m pleased with the effort by our guys.”
The Revs didn’t let an early two-goal deficit shake their confidence. Less than four minutes after Chicago's pair of goals Adam Buksa netted a powerful header off a beautiful corner kick service from Carles Gil.
The momentum started to shift, and 27 minutes into the game Gustavo Bou leveled the score with a sliding finish off a cross from Tajon Buchanan.
“Once the game slowed down and we got comfortable and we finally got a little more confident, you saw the chances we could create,” said Andrew Farrell. “Whether it was on the counterattack when we were sitting up a lot, or they turned the ball over or held the ball up with our two forwards.
"The first game is always tricky because a lot of things can happen, but I think it was good to show that our attack is really potent and we have a lot of pieces that can make things happen.”
SuperDraft pick Edward Kizza made his professional debut off the bench in the 83rd minute and almost scored an immediate winner with an 87th-minute header that hit the crossbar.
“In the second part of the first half we I think responded well,” said Buksa. “We scored two goals and we could’ve scored a third one, so it was a good part. Then in the second half, obviously it was a 50-50 game. It could have gone both ways. I think that a draw is a fair result for today. It wasn’t our best game overall, but we need to respect the one point.”
“Obviously, we want to win the first game of the season,” said Farrell. “It’s been a long time. But given how we started the game, I think with the performance from the guys, after that I think it was better than how we started and so now we’re looking forward to looking at the tape and getting ready for D.C. [United].”
The Revolution return to Foxborough on April 24 to play in their home opener against D.C., and will reunite with supporters in person for the first time at Gillette Stadium since prior to the pandemic on March 7, 2020.